This is a short story, I think I read it in an anthology of the author's work, possibly.

I don't remember too many details, unfortunately. It had a male character who has the choice to break out of a time loop, but does not do so. In the end of the story, he does the same thing that he always does.

I believe there may have been something about a rocket launch, or a button being pressed, and a telephone call, from a phone booth.

Sorry, this is really vague. I just remember feeling a terrible sense of dread that the character had chosen to make the same decision again, knowingly setting off the loop.

I read it about ten years ago - in English, but I believe it was an older story. I am unsure if English was the original language.

  • 3
    How long ago did you read it, and was it old when you read it? And what language did you read it in, and was that the original language or had it been translated?
    – user150380
    Commented Sep 10, 2022 at 5:26
  • 1
    @user14111 No, Mugwump 4 is not the story I am looking for. Thanks though!
    – Teeru
    Commented Sep 10, 2022 at 23:38

2 Answers 2


I found it :)

The story I was looking for is:

"A Little Something for us Tempunauts" by Philip K. Dick.

Summary from Wikipedia:

Time travelers from the United States, called tempunauts, are sent only a few days into the future rather than a century as was intended. In this near-future, they learn their return from the future was fatal to them.

Addison Doug, one of the tempunauts, believes that they are trapped with the rest of the Earth in a closed time loop, forever doomed to repeat the period between their starting their trip and their fatal return. Having found out the cause of their fatal return journey, they have to decide whether to change or not to change their return journey in order to get out of the loop. Doug decides to sabotage "reentry" unbeknownst to the others - by smuggling a mass of car engine parts into the time machine - to both at the same time (and completely contradictorily) find resolution in death and close the time-loop, freezing all of humanity, and possibly the whole universe, in endless repetition of a single week.

Thanks all!

  • 3
    Good job finding it. Don't forget to mark your answer as accepted by clicking on the check mark beneath the voting buttons, as per the tour. You won't be able to do this until 48 hours after the question was initially posted, though, as the site doesn't allow self-answers to be marked as accepted any earlier than that. Commented Sep 11, 2022 at 0:10

I thought I knew the answer to this, but I was wrong. I actually thought the author was Philip K. Dick, but the story I had in mind was Robert Heinlein's By His Bootstraps, with the characters of Bob, Joe (future Bob) and Diktor (further future Bob). Just thought I'd add that here in case anyone else is searching for the same theme and gets these authors' works confused.

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